Sky Documentaries has commissioned documentary feature, Flight 149 (w/t) from Drum Studios.

The film  will explore the dramatic moment when the passengers of BA Flight 149 were taken hostage.

On 2nd August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. Hours later, BA Flight 149 from London lands in Kuwait City for a scheduled stop with over 385 men, women and children on board. With Kuwait City under occupation, Saddam Hussein broadcasts to the world that the passengers of the plane are now his ‘guests’ and are not allowed to leave. They are held as human shields in military and chemical plants across Iraq in a rapidly escalating international crisis.

Over the next five months, a tense hostage story unfolds with the world watching. It coincides with a pivotal moment in geopolitical history that will change the West’s relationship with the Middle East forever. The hostages become pawns caught up with a ruthless dictator, a plane full of spies, a British government cover-up and unexpected involvement from Richard Branson.

During their time in captivity, the hostages endure near starvation, mock executions, rape and a constant fear of never making it home.

Thirty-three years later, a group of those hostages are now taking the British government and BA to court in their search for justice and the truth. Why was the plane allowed to land in the first place? What secret is the British government still determined to hide? Will they ever find closure to their horrific ordeal?

The film will feature testimony from all sides of the story  including the hostages themselves, politicians from both sides of the Atlantic and the men and women from the Kuwaiti resistance who risked their lives to hide the hostages. The film will hear from people who knew Saddam Hussein and will “offer a unique insight into the psychology of the dictator at this sliding door moment in his relationship with the West.”

Andy Holland, Head of Drum Studios, said: “When we started Drum Studios in 2021, our mission was to make compelling films with emotional weight, and to shine a light on real human stories that need to be told. Jenny Ash is a brilliant filmmaker, who we are thrilled to be working with on this important story.”

Poppy Dixon, Director of Documentaries and Factual at Sky UK, said: “There are many surprising and untold stories within the varied and often harrowing experiences of the hostages and others involved in this crisis, and I have no doubt that Jenny and the team at Drum will do justice to their memories, in what promises to be a powerful and thought-provoking film.”

Flight 149 (w/t) has been commissioned for Sky Documentaries by Zai Bennett, Sky’s Managing Director of Content and Poppy Dixon, Director of Documentaries and Factual. The Sky Original film is produced by Drum Studios in association with Sky Studios, and is directed by Jenny Ash (Nuremberg – The World’s Biggest Murder Trial and Bin Laden – The Road to 9/11). The executive producers are award-winning filmmakers Sam Bagnall (This World) and Mark Henderson (Aids – The Unheard Tapes) who was himself held hostage in Colombia in 2003, whilst Helen McClure (SAS Who Dares Wins) and Mowaffaq Safadi (For Sama) serve as producers on the film. Andy Holland and Laura Botten are executive producers for Drum Studios. NBCUniversal Global Distribution will handle international sales of the series on behalf of Sky Studios.




Jon Creamer

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